A survey recently released by American Academy of Family Physicians provides insight into the thoughts of family physicians towards telemedicine and telehealth. According to the survey 87% of uses and 64% of non-users of telehealth services would use telehealth to connect patients to specialists if telehealth were available. 1557 family physicians responded to the survey.
Compared with non-users, users of telehealth were more likely to practice in rural areas, be younger, have practiced less than 10 years, and use and EHR. The physicians who incorporated telemedicine reported using it for diagnosis or treatment (55%), chronic disease management (26%), follow ups (21%), and second opinions (20%).
“The findings also suggest that telehealth is on the cusp of advancing from a tool used occasionally to a tool implemented on a routine basis. However, use of telehealth services will not become widely adopted until health systems are reformed to address barriers. Specifically, practice training and support need to be reformed to include telehealth education; technological platforms need to be updated with tools to support telehealth; reimbursement for telehealth services needs to be expanded; and licensing and credentialing need to be clarified to allow for interstate provision of telehealth services,” the survey report authors wrote.